1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Upcoming PAT Questions/Tips?

    Hey guys,

    I had a quick question.

    I just moved to the area, called the fire house down the street from me about volunteering and long story short, they're of course doing the PAT this weekend and I haven't lifted/worked out in 2 months. I've started running and swimming and lifting again all this week, but that will only be 5 days worth of training before the event.

    I'm not overly out of shape, had been working out heavily before I took the 2 months off (moved/etc.). It just has me nervous as I haven't had a lot of time to prepare.

    At any rate, I'm a little nervous about the test this weekend. I wanted to get your input on the difficulty, any tips you can give and any further info. I have called to see if I could get a practice run before the even this weekend (I imagine they already did it, I was just too late. Literally JUST got into town).

    Events: Must be completed in 6 Minutes.

    Fire Service Ladder Carry:

    The applicant shall safely remove, carry and replace a 14-foot roof ladder that is stored on an engine, a distance of 100 feet. If the ladder is dropped or is not controlled, the applicant will be asked by the test administrator to replace the ladder on the rack and start over. Time will not be stopped.

    Disqualifying Actions: Striking the apparatus with the tip or heal of the ladder, failing to walk the full 100 feet, or failure to place the ladder back on the apparatus. Running will not be allowed for this evolution.

    Fire Hose Drag:
    The applicant will lift and drag a charged 1-¾ inch structural attack line a distance of 100 feet. This line will be charged to 85 psi. The evolution is complete when the nozzle crosses the line at the end of 100 feet.

    Disqualifying Actions:Failure to cross the line with the nozzle

    Wet Hose Load:
    The applicant will move four 100-foot sections of three inch supply line from a tabletop across a simulated traffic lane (10') and place all sections
    inside an identified area. Once all sections are inside the area, the applicant will raise his or her hand alerting the test administrator he or she is finished. The applicant will be directed to place the hose back on the table.

    Disqualifying Actions: Failure to get all four sections inside the identified area and failure to place all sections back on the table. Running will not be allowed for this evolution.

    Fire Service Hose Connection:
    The applicant will couple two hoses of different sizes using assorted fire service adapters and couplings. Applicant will join the two sections of hose making a tight, serviceable connection.

    Disqualifying Actions: Cross-threading, joining two different thread types, loose connections or a non-serviceable connection. Running will not be allowed for this evolution.

    Roof Ventilation Simulator:
    The Kieser machine will be used in this evolution. The beam will be driven the distance outlined on the tray. The applicant will attempt to the best of his or her ability to hit the beam with the face of the eight-pound dead blow hammer.

    Disqualifying Actions: The applicant will not in any way attempt to push the beam with the hammer, the handle of the hammer, or the applicant’s feet. The only acceptable way the beam will be moved is by the force of the hammer striking it. Running will not be allowed for this evolution.

    Fire Service Rescue Drag:
    The applicant will drag a rescue mannequin weighing approximately 185 pounds a distance of 75 feet.

    Disqualifying Actions: Failure to cross the finish line.

    Must complete in 6 mins

  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jan 2004

    Default Re: PAT

    Man Taylor! This is one ball bustin' Vollie department.

    Disqualifying actions? I hope that means that they void your attempt and you can retest again. If this is a pass/fail test for a vounteer department I would think membership isn't an issue for them. If that's the case then boy I wish we had that problem.

    As for your physical ability. I have to say that 5 days of excercise is better than none. If you think you have the strength, then really work cardio. I can't tell our guys enough about the importance of this. If you're even moderately strong and you know proper techniques, it's not ever going to be complete unless you have the cardiovascular endurance. Remember, most of us fall to cardiac related deaths more than anything our braun can't handle.

    I'm not familiar with your department's particular test and how it's laid out but just by reading it I have to honestly say that six minutes sounds pretty generous. We use 5 stations that mimic the Scott Combat Challenge (we're also running it this weekend by the way) and I don't expect anyone to finish any slower than 5 minutes.

    Good luck to you and get working. If not for this weekend then just do it for yourself. You'll get there.


    One last thing. Find threads from Drjmilus. I have benefitted from a lot of health and nutrition posts by the doc.
    Last edited by 725GUS; 09-13-2007 at 11:56 AM.

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    San Francisco Bay Area

    Default Some Ideas

    With ladder throws, it’s gaining momentum and a continuous movement from beginning to end of the throw, using a pivot point and the weight of the ladder to your advantage. Dragging hose or a dummy is starting with a thrust to start up the momentum, taking shorter steps, keeping a low forward center of gravity, using your own weight to keep up the momentum during the pull.

    Walking a ladder is using a pivot point and the weight of the ladder to your advantage. When raising the fly, pull the rope in short hand over hand movements in front of your face not much higher than your head. On each grip of the rope, turn your fist palm down to improve your grip. Keep one foot planted at the spur (bottom one side or the other) keep the other foot back for balance. Slightly tilt the ladder towards the wall for balance as you raise it.

    The dummy from my son’s department disappeared from the training center. Two days later a 911 call came in from a pay phone asking for help. When units arrived at the scene, here was the dummy standing up in the phone booth with the phone receiver to his ear. Case closed.

    Many candidates feel if they set some kind of a record it will help in hiring. Not true! It is pass or fail. The secret “Nugget” here is to pace yourself. You don’t have to break the record. If you would have no problem in passing the physical, then, why would you want to try and impress the training staff, the other candidates and tout that you set a new record? In your haste, you might injure yourself or fall down the stairs in the tower . . . and, you don’t even pass. Now, you not only didn’t pass the PT, you’re out of the hiring process. How would you feel McFly?

    Here are some valuable tips for CPAT from Tom Dominguez and Reed Norwood:
    The secret to passing the CPAT is to be in shape with a high cardiovascular fitness level and to know the techniques as Captain Bob has mentioned. The average time is between nine minutes and ten minutes, twenty seconds. Try to think of the CPAT (or any agility) as a marathon where you are trying to complete the event instead of going for the record time. You can burn out if you are going for time no matter how well in shape you are.

    Most people who fail the CPAT fail the first event (Stair Climb/Stair Stepper), or run out of time during the last event (Ceiling Breach). People who run out of time at the breach and pull lost a few seconds at all the prior event stations because they PAUSED to THINK of how to do the event or PAUSED or SLOWED down to catch their breath.

    #1 Stair Climb: No matter how hard you train for the stair stepper, your legs are going to be like rubber after you get off the machine and start pulling hose. The recovery time for rubber legs depends on your fitness. Even still, rubber legs or not, you have to get moving and keep moving, and stay moving! If you stop at anytime during the events, the clock is ticking and you are losing time.

    The tendency is that as you start wearing down on the stair stepper machine, your pace and stride will change and that will affect your balance. As you lose your balance, you start to wobble and the momentum of the weight on your body increases the swaying. As the distance of the sway increases, you will make a natural grab for the handrails. Grab the rail (more than twice?) to many times and you are disqualified. Instead of “grabbing the rail”, use the back of your hand and push your self back. Adjusting your stance and concentrating will help you avoid the “wobble”. Just like wearing a SCBA, you also have to concentrate on your breathing.

    #2 Hose Drag: As soon as you step off the stair machine, turn and face the line that takes you to the hose pull. As soon as the proctor takes the two sandbags off your shoulders, get moving! Pick up the nozzle and shoulder the hose and GO! This is not the time to worry about those rubber legs or try to catch your breath. MOVE! Go as fast as you can. Step into the box, turn around, get down on one knee (being careful not to come down too hard and injuring your knee) and PULL the hose, hand-over-hand as fast as you can. That drum will give you some resistance when you turn the corner but if you’re going at a good clip it won’t be too difficult. You can breathe while hand pulling the hose.

    #3 Equipment Carry: When you get to the saw carry, just do it! Face the cabinet and remove each saw one at a time. Now, turn around and pick up both saws. This will ensure that you have both saws touching the ground before you begin moving down the line.

    #4 Ladder Raise and Extension: When you arrive at the ladder raise, get down, grab the rung and raise the ladder. You have to push the ladder up, rung-by-rung as fast as you can. Move over to the fly extension and just do it.

    #5 Forcible Entry: Breathe, as you follow the line and pick up the sledgehammer. Start swinging as soon as you can in short choppy strokes. Departments may set the forced entry device at a level that fits their needs. When the alarm sounds, let go of the sledgehammer and move to the tunnel crawl.

    #6 Search: Get in and get out! You may not move like a greased pig at the fair but you do need to move. One candidate wrote: Here is where I lost about 15-20 seconds. The event itself is pretty fun if you are not claustrophobic. Be aware of the obstacles inside. I could not figure one out, and I got disoriented and lost precious time figuring it out. Crawl fast as there are no abrupt edges that you’ll run into. All the walls are tapered so as long as you keep your head down you can fly through. Doing the practice “run-throughs” will take away all doubt of what and where the obstructions are in tunnel crawl.

    Always remember to stay right, and come back to your right after an obstacle. The event is shaped in a horseshoe, so there are two right turns. This can be a good time to catch your breath as well in preparation for the dummy drag.

    #7 Rescue: At the dummy pull, size up where the handles are before you get there. Grab them and get going. You may feel the burn in your legs but don’t stop. It saps your strength to have to get the dummy moving again each time you stop. When you reach the barrel, do not make the turn until the dummy’s knees are even with farthest side of the barrel. If you try to pull the dummy around the barrel any sooner, it takes more energy and it will take more time. Get over the line and let go of the dummy and get to the ceiling Breach and Pull.

    #8 Ceiling Breach and Pull: This is the event where folks run out of time and fail the CPAT. Grab the pike pole and step in. Start pushing and pulling with all you got! If there’s a D-handle on the pike pole put a hand under it for increased leverage. Get a rhythm/fast pace going. An object at rest requires energy to get it moving. An object that is moving requires less energy to keep it moving. If those ceiling hatches are not making lots of loud noise, you are not working very hard. You can buy yourself some time here that you may need to finish the CPAT in time.

    Follow the instructions of the proctor! The proctor will either tell you where the line is or point to the line you are to follow. People have been failed for not following the right line to the next event.

    If you were to pause five seconds at the start and stop of every event, or to stop and breathe or think about each event, you can loose about a minute and a half of precious time. Once this time is gone, you cannot get it back. This goes back to what Captain Bob was writing about when it comes to the manipulation and techniques of each event.

    "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

    More Tips on getting hired and promoted by Firehouse Contributing Author Fire “Captain Bob” Articles here:

    Fire "Captain Bob"


  4. #4
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2007


    Hey Guys,

    Thanks for the help and info.

    I wasn't able to get a practice run, guess I'm going to have to go into it without one.

    One question, how hard is the coupling event? Connecting two hoses of different sizes? Never seen the piece before. Every other event, I can visualize and kind of prepare myself for, but this one has me nervous since I can't really figure out exactly what it is I'll be doing.

    Thanks again for the help!

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Pleasanton, CA

    Default All good advice, Captain Bob


    unfortunately, a week or 2 is not enough to train. You'll either pass this or you won't at this point. Upping your exercise when you are not used to it will only deplete your glycogen stores and make you tired for the test. I wish I had seen this post earlier this week... so I could have told you to rest.

    Best of luck: NOW:
    How did it go? What did you learn? And most importantly, did you pass?

    This is my take on Job Specific Training:

    Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention are the goals of all elite athletes. Enhancement allows us to just plain be better… win… save lives in this case. Injury Prevention allows us to do the job (or sport) without injuring ourselves or others.

    Firefighters are elite athletes. They show up, at the toughest of times, when the chips are down, to save lives. They dig deep into their hearts to make the difference that may save the life of the next Einstein. They need to be strong, and perform at peak levels to help people to the best of their ability. Further, they need to do this while preserving their health and physical integrity. This allows them to do the same the next week and save our precious parents and children! The CPAT exam process is used to weed out the people who are not ready or able to do the job.... the rest of this article is here.

    If you have any question, write me at Drjen@fireagility.com

    Dr. J

  6. #6
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2007


    Just an update. We had the test today. Passed with ease, 3:59 out of 6minutes, had the fastest time! Another guy could have easily beaten me if he wanted, but on paper.... I had it!

  7. #7
    Show me a Scania vehicle

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Lubbock, TX


    Quote Originally Posted by TaylorH View Post
    ...but that will only be 5 days worth of training before the event.
    So, how'd you do?

  8. #8
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2007


    Hey guys,

    Thanks again for all the tips and help.

    I did great. Had the best time of the day. 3:59. Was tough, but I did well. Guess I didn't need to stress about it too much

    The keiser was killer though... that thing is tough, definitely takes the most time and takes the most out of you!

    Thanks again for all of the help!

    - Taylor

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